ADA Compliance – Readily Achievable
Hi. Welcome to ACR ADA Design and Build’s educational short series, videos on some of the most popular myths that are out there and clarification on some of the most common topics. We hope to add some clarification today. My name is Tony Guichard. I’m the president of ACR Design and Build. Today, we have our team member, Jason, who is our CASp inspector. Jason, his CASp number’s down in the four hundreds. In addition to being a CASp inspector, again, Jason is a DSA inspector who works in the field every day. He inspects physical work being constructed by contractors. This allows Jason to be at the top of his game, which is why he is part of our team. And we work very well together. In addition to that, if you’re caught up in these ADA lawsuits, we have an ADA expert legal counsel who is also part of our team, but separate. Jason is not an employee of ACR.
We have that in place due to conflict. We want Jason to be completely free to come back and evaluate our work and say, “Hey, you know what, Tony, something’s not right.” Then it’s on us to make that correction. So it adds one more layer of protection for our clients. But today we’re going to talk about a topic that is almost on every particular case or every job we come onto, and it’s readily achievable. And oftentimes our clients come to us and say, “Hey, we don’t have the capital.” And of course at that period, we don’t know their financial situation, the history of the property, what have you. The attorney doesn’t either. So they are reading up on it and they found the term readily achievable. And they may or may not have to perform the work. Usually, one of the most popular ways of doing is saying, “Hey, it’s a financial hardship.”
Well, if you read the intent of readily achievable or perhaps have your council, or our council can explain it to you. If you go on and read it, it’ll also state that the plaintiff can also request, through discovery, multiple items, such as an appraisal on the property to see if there’s any equity in it. Is it held in title of a parent company that has multiple properties and capital available to make these corrections, rent rolls, tax returns. You can run through the ringer of providing all of this information and still not have a platform worthy of standing on when you could have simply made the corrections, which is why we always push our clients to become compliant the first time. But you know, this is a detailed question, so I want to make sure that Jason elaborates on what I’ve just stated in detail. So Jason, I know you run into this stuff on a daily basis. So what are your thoughts?
Well, the definition in the ADA of readily achievable is, “Able to be done without too much effort or expense.” Then the very next sentence says, “Cost may not be a factor in determining whether or not an element is readily achievable.” So when you’re trying to prove something being not readily achievable, you cannot take the entire CASp report and say, “this is going to be too much. This is not readily achievable.” You can only break out one item. You have to do it item by item, element by element. “Is doing your parking space not readily achievable?” And everything can be broken down into being readily achievable when it is fought correctly by the plaintiffs. And so what I typically tell people when they ask me, and I wish the people writing the book would be a little more specific with this and not leave it so vague. When I tell people, and it’s going to sound sarcastic, but if it costs you less than three more lawsuits in the next 10 years, I advise you to take care of it.
Yeah, I would agree. And what we’re finding, we just had a client that had three lawsuits filed within 60 days from different law firms. So while they were making their decision and consulting with their counsel, by the time they were done, I think just in their settlement fees, they were close to $70,000 when the entire project was $22,000 to make the correction. And one of the nice things about ACR, we want to push our clients into ADA compliance fully, correctly the first time. And we recognize that oftentimes, due to COVID 19, that there’s loss of revenue. We recognize that the owners are losing their tenants left and right.
So it’s difficult. They’re getting hit with these lawsuits, and now they have no way to collect rent. There isn’t much capital available. So what we’re doing is we’re trying to assist our clients to become compliant, so we’re offering extension in the payments. We even offer financing as of last year. In addition to that, we accept major credit cards, but we do everything we can to push you in the right direction of full compliance to eliminate the future lawsuits because they can get very expensive. So if you have any questions and you want to check into our financing or follow up on further clarification, feel free to give us a call or send us an email, again, seven days a week, and we’ll get back to you. Thank you.